EVEN MORE RAGS TO RICHES
Added on: 12th Jan 2015
DO WON CHANG
Do Won Chang had to work three jobs as a janitor, gas station
employee, and coffee shop attendant to support his family when
they moved from Korea to America in 1981. After three years of
thrift-spending, he was able to open his first retail store Fashion 21,
which grew to be the retail clothing giant Forever 21, a pioneer in
fast fashion. The multinational clothing empire with over 480 outlets
worldwide generates an annual income of $3 billion.
After surviving the Nazi occupation of Hungary in 1947,
George Soros escaped the country to stay with his relatives in London.
He supported his studies by working as a waiter and railway porter
and then sold goods at a souvenir shop after graduating. He also
wrote to every merchant bank in England until he gained an
entry-level job at Singer & Friedlander. He became “the man who
broke the bank of England” due to his famous bet against the British
pound in 1992, where he earned more than a billion dollars in profit
in one plunge in the Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.
With just a $50 bill wrapped in plastic and hidden in a sandwich,
Zdenek Bakala fled communist Czechoslovakia in 1980 when he was
19 years old and made it to Lake Tahoe. He worked as a
dishwasher at Harrah’s Casino while studying for his
undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Dartmouth.
He later on ventured in banking, opened his first company
Credit Suisse First Boston in Prague after the fall of the Berlin Wall
and presided over a coal company that has a $2.52 billion market.
Harold Simmons grew up in a shack in the poor rural town of
Golden, Texas with no plumbing or electricity. He still managed,
however, to graduate with a B.A. and masters in Economics from the
University of Texas. His first venture was a series of drugstores
which were almost entirely funded with a loan. This became a
100-store chain which he sold to Eckerd for $50 million.
He became famous as a master of the corporate buyout and
currently owns 6 companies that trade on the NYSE including the
world’s largest producer of titanium, Titanium Metals Corporation.
Richard Desmond was raised by a single mother living on top
of a garage. He quit school at the age of 14 to focus on being a
drummer while working as a coat-checker to help pay bills.
Though he never became famous for his musical abilities,
he later opened his own record store and published his first magazine,
“International Musician and Recording World” and expanded the
Desmond magazine empire with publications such as the
British version of Penthouse and OK!. He now owns a number of
publications around the world and was listed on the 2011 Sunday
Times Rich List with a net worth of £950 million.
HARRY WAYNE HUIZENGA
Harry Wayne Huizenga was born in Chicago, Illinois to an
abusive father. His family moved to Florida to save his parents’
marriage but his father never changed. He moved back to
Chicago to go to college but soon dropped out and then signed
up to be a reserve in the Army. He went back to Florida after
his training and bought his first dump truck to start a trash
disposal business. This venture became highly profitable so
he purchased more garbage trucks and later built his company,
the Waste Management Inc., which became well-known all over
the US. He also purchased Blockbuster stores, which later
merged with Viacom. He is credited for founding three
Fortune 500 companies.
Born to a family of lawyers in Blackheath, London, he had poor
academic performance due to his dyslexia. Therefore, he focused
more on his business which included growing Christmas trees and
raising parakeets. He later started his own record mail-order business
at the age of 16. In 1972, he established the record store Virgin Records,
which prospered in the 1980s with a number of outlets. He also
created Virgin Atlantic Airwaves, which expanded Virgin Records
into a music label, making him the 245th richest person in the
An orphan at the age of four, this Russian business tycoon was
raised by his uncle and grandmother. He got his first break from an
expensive wedding gift given by his in-laws. He dropped out of
college to pursue his business, which included selling imported
plastic ducks from his Moscow apartment. He then ventured
into managing the oil giant Sibneft after taking it over in 1995.
He continued to flip his investments with profitable ventures such
as Russian Aluminium and the steelmaker Evraz Group.
He is now the 5th richest person in Russia and owns the $1.5 billion
yacht ‘Eclipse,’ the largest private yacht docked in New York City
and the Chelsea Football Club, among others.